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Happy Policeman [Mass Market Paperback]

Patricia Anthony
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Dec 12 2012
In a small Texas town sealed off from the rest of the world by aliens--ostensibly to protect it from the effects of a nuclear bomb--a portly Mary Kay representative is murdered, and the police chief must find the killer. Reprint. PW. LJ.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Anthony's fourth novel (after Cold Allies) details a half year in the life of DeWitt Dawson, the 40-ish police chief of Coomey, Tex. Though a one-stoplight town, Coomey is remarkable because, for six years, it's been circled by "the Line"-a paisley band of light that blocks all light, heat, broadcast waves, people, animals and objects from entering or leaving town. Local opinion has it that a nuclear holocaust has wiped out the rest of Texas (and maybe the world) but that Coomey has been spared by the intervention of the Torku, diminutive English-speaking, Zen-preaching aliens from outer space. Only the Torku can cross the Line, which they do daily, in UPS trucks bearing enough groceries, gasoline, VCRs and Mary Kay cosmetics to keep the town civilized. Projected onto this wild whimsy are a thin murder mystery-two children are missing and their mom is found dead in the woods-and a more substantial domestic drama involving Dawson, his wife, their teenaged daughter, Dawson's homely but wholesome mistress and a sociopathic deputy sheriff. While investigating the murder, Dawson learns much about the mutability of family and societal relationships and his own capacity for physical and emotional violence. The climax of his personal story-when the alleged murderer must be tried and executed (or lynched) by a community that knows him intimately-coincides with the disappearance of the aliens and the town's reintegration into the world. As a sociological parable, this novel is a touch glib, but Anthony's sure pacing and character development make it enjoyable and rewarding nonetheless.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Inside the paisley barrier that separates the town of Coomey, Texas, from the rest of the world, life goes on as usual. The Torku, alien saviors of the town, supply the citizens' every need, while the locals count themselves lucky to have survived the nuclear holocaust that ended life on Earth. When Loretta Harper's mutilated body is discovered in the woods, however, and police chief DeWitt Dawson takes it upon himself to investigate, the fragile tranquility of Earth's last community begins to dissolve. Anthony (Cold Allies, LJ 12/92) consistently demonstrates her genius for innovation. Her ability to capture the eeriness of alien civilization while simultaneously exploring the foibles of human society marks her as one of the genre's premier authors. A priority purchase.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars UPS Aliens April 27 2000
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
It's a locked-room mystery, folks, with all the action taking place inside "the line." Who killed the pink lady? Pastor Jimmy? Foster, the dope-smoking banker? Billy, Loretta's estranged husband? Or maybe she was murdered by the aliens in the UPS truck. The Happy Policeman is the story of police chief DeWitt Dawson's struggle with duty and rebellion, responsibility and truth. Oh yeah . . . and adultry.
One of Anthony's best.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Happy That I Found Happy Policeman Oct. 27 2000
Format:Hardcover
I just discovered Patricia Anthony and boy am I glad! Great characterization and dialogue. Great style that keeps you turning the pages. I hated time away from this book! Then hated that I finished it. The alien Torkus are so deliciously creepy and philosphical. I am so glad I found Happy Policeman. I looked foward to reading Brother Termite and Cold Allies.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent and intelligent read Oct. 11 2003
Format:Hardcover
This is a good book to read in bed for entertainment on the surface, but it's also an excellent commentary on human xenophobic nature. It's been a while since I read it, so I really can't offer more, but it is a quite multi-layered book that I recommend to both the casual and deep reader.
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5.0 out of 5 stars her most underrated book April 2 2001
Format:Hardcover
Patricia Anthony is underrated in general, but this is her most overlooked book. Too bad, because it's THAT GOOD. Although the premise is a simple twist on an old ghost town of sorts, it is sci-fi/specu-fic at its best.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Once again, the science fiction is a minor aspect Aug. 13 2004
By Avid Reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As in her latest work, "God's Fires" (a highly-recommended book about the Inquisition and aliens), the science fiction aspects recede into the background. Patricia Anthony's focus has always been with relationships and the human experience - some might say dilemma. She highlights these two elements by using aliens as background noise...they are not so different from us after all OR they are so different we can only relate to one another.

Post-nuclear Texas, a small town has been cut off from the rest of the world by an invisible shield erected by aliens who live among them. The incongruous element was that life went on as normal without a lot of consternation. It is a typical town with an evangelistic preacher, love affairs, law breakers and a tired, guilty Chief of Police. A murder has occurred at the start of the book and the search for the killer forms the germ of the plot.

Yet...and this is the reason for the four stars, when all is said and done, there is more said than done. (WARNING -SPOILER) One could almost sense that the entire six years of the barrier was surreal. What is even more perplexing is that everything that occurred in the town actually happened only in another setting. Instead of hanging a condemned man, we discover he has hung himself in his prison cell in the "real world". No one understands, least of all the people involved, and when they emerge they discover that the world has carried on as before.

So, is it a commentary over taking life for granted, over what is possible in the universe of reality, on the meaning of reality itself. Your guess is as good as mine. But read the story for the richness of the characters (the moment when he finds out about his wife and deputy is a classic) and the effectiveness of the dialogue.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Happy That I Found Happy Policeman Oct. 27 2000
By Jim Long - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I just discovered Patricia Anthony and boy am I glad! Great characterization and dialogue. Great style that keeps you turning the pages. I hated time away from this book! Then hated that I finished it. The alien Torkus are so deliciously creepy and philosphical. I am so glad I found Happy Policeman. I looked foward to reading Brother Termite and Cold Allies.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Again! March 25 2007
By B5Anteros - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
She's done it to me again. Kept me hooked throughout the book and then... weird ending.

Just like "God's Fires", "Cold Allies", "Brother Termite," which I actually finished after this one, and now The "Happy Policeman."

This book reads like an episode of The "Outer Limits" on steroids. It's usually my cup of tea when it comes to science fiction. And for most of the book, it is! The thing is that when I read this type of story I expect a payback for all my time expended!

Sigh... Oh well. At least she's a fantastic writer. Do I recommend the book? Yes, but with the reservation I've mentioned. Perhaps I just don't get it and it's possible you will.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars her most underrated book April 2 2001
By David Myers - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Patricia Anthony is underrated in general, but this is her most overlooked book. Too bad, because it's THAT GOOD. Although the premise is a simple twist on an old ghost town of sorts, it is sci-fi/specu-fic at its best.
5.0 out of 5 stars UPS Aliens April 27 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
It's a locked-room mystery, folks, with all the action taking place inside "the line." Who killed the pink lady? Pastor Jimmy? Foster, the dope-smoking banker? Billy, Loretta's estranged husband? Or maybe she was murdered by the aliens in the UPS truck. The Happy Policeman is the story of police chief DeWitt Dawson's struggle with duty and rebellion, responsibility and truth. Oh yeah . . . and adultry.
One of Anthony's best.
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